Earlier this week, we packed up the family and headed to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Tx. It was my husband and oldest son’s birthday and thought we’d kill two birds with one stone and instead of the usual birthday party, we’d do a staycation at the indoor water park.
Confession: I was DREADING this trip, but know this is something my family has been wanting to do. I am not a water park kind of gal and I am kind of snobbish when it comes to the bed that I sleep in. So in my head Great Wolf Lodge was the evil of all evils. PLUS, we have 2 toddlers so constant attention would be needed to their every move and needs. We were actually scheduled to go here a few years ago when it first opened, I backed out and re-did our plans. I sucked up my pride and decided that I am going to be a good mom and let the family have a great time.I would just fake it or drink and all would be well for the 24 hours we would be there. I could handle 24 hours right?
The family survived and everyone had a great time. If you are thinking of taking toddlers, I’ve rounded up 10 things to know about toddlers and Great Wolf Lodge. Even if we didn’t have the older kids, it most definitely is a place I would recommend for toddlers!
Great Wolf Lodge and Toddlers 1 of 13
Check out these 12 things that you should know about taking toddlers to Great Wolf Lodge. Hopefully these tips will help if you are planning on going!
Life Jackets Provided 2 of 13
Before you enter the pool area, there is a swim shop you must walk thru (at least in the Grapevine, TX location). A Great Wolf Lodge employee will help you find a life jacket that will fit your toddler. Best part - these life jackets are free!
Year Round Play 3 of 13
The majority of the pools and slides are indoors at Great Wolf Lodge. The temperature is kept around 84 degrees year round so is perfect rain, shine or even snow! It was so nice not having to lather my VERY pale white toddlers up with sunscreen every hour or worrying if the water would be the right temperature.
Bring a Cover Up and Flip Flops 4 of 13
The temperature outside of the waterpark is 72 degrees which is a bit nippy coming out of the water. I would suggest bringing a swim suit cover up and flip flops to wear around the resort. Many people are walking around just in bathing suits - including my kids. There are a ton of activities to do outside of the waterpark feature.
Towels in the Park 5 of 13
Lugging around a toddler is enough to worry about. Thankfully Great Wolf Lodge has a well thought out plan for towels. There are multiple locations near the entrance/exit to grab a towel. These have to stay in the water park area, but the towels are warm (the majority of the time we grabbed one at least!)
image source: istockphoto
Toddler Pool Area 6 of 13
Having 2 toddlers, knowing both me and my husband would have to keep a close eye on them I wasn't sure how this was going to work. Great Wolf Lodge has a pool dedicated to babies and toddlers under 48 inches. There are all kinds of water activities for them to do and you can just wade around them as they play! There are 2 water slides in the toddler area as well so when they get a little older they can still have slide fun.
The photo above shows one of the water features. The kids can climb, pull ropes to dump water, play in fountains and more.
Family Water Activities 7 of 13
While the majority of our time was spent in the toddler pool, we did all enjoy the wave pool and lazy river. There are water tubes provided and at no time felt worries about their safety. Our older 2 kids, 8 and 10 years old were able to run around and meet up with us. I didn't have to feel like a helicopter mom like I often do around water!
Attentive Life Guards 8 of 13
I was totally impressed with the life guards at Great Wolf Lodge. While they were all in their late teens, early 20's - each took their job very seriously. What I didn't know about at the time (but later saw a sign about this), they do regular safety drills with a baby doll (that looks real). It scared me to pieces thinking I was watching a rescue happen.
Tables & Chairs 9 of 13
There are multiple tables and lounge chairs to relax on when it's time to take a break. We left our stuff at the table, which included my camera, wallet and phone without any hesitation. I know, I should be more careful - but fortunately we went during a down time.
Go When It’s Not Busy 10 of 13
Our stay at Great Wolf Lodge was on a Monday - Tuesday. We started playing in the pool around 5 pm until 9 pm and then woke up and played again for another 5 or so hours! There was hardly a crowd being school in session in the middle of the week. The kids didn't wait in line for any slides and the toddler pool was just us and few other kids!
Hotel Rooms 11 of 13
Great Wolf Lodge offers themed hotel rooms that can fit up to 8 people. You get free water park admission up to the occupancy your room will hold. While there are a few plain room options, we opted for the Kid Cabin suite. There were bunk beds, a queen bed, a pull-out sofa and an extra bed in the Kids Cabin area. While our kids were technically in the same room, the Kids cabin area gave them their own space and a TV.
The staff brought up a pack-and-play when at 1 in the morning our littlest toddler decided he was going to jump on the bed rather than sleep. (He is typically in a crib so the pack-and-play worked perfect!)
The most important feature - it was EXTREMELY CLEAN!
Resort Activities 12 of 13
Even if your toddler is not up for swimming, Great Wolf Lodge offers several activities outside of swimming and playing in the water. There is Magiquest, a wand game. We didn't play this, but the kids that were seemed to love it. There is a craft area, story time, an arcade and ice cream shop.
Overall Affordable 13 of 13
While we went to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate the birthdays of my older son and husband, I was surprised how affordable the resort was in comparison to other resorts we had been to. The room you purchase includes the waterpark tickets. Our daily resort fee gave us free WIFI. The ice cream shop and pizza place weren't significantly more than we would pay ordering out. Of course there are drinks that can add up and swimming makes you hungry so the constant snacks, but plan well. We had stopped at the grocery store and bought breakfast, snacks and drinks. I wouldn't use the word cheap, but wouldn't say outrageous either.
If you are looking for a fun staycation, I would highly recommend Great Wolf Lodge with toddlers. It was a great time and I am hoping that our next trip, we stay 2 nights instead of just 1.
Read my full review of Great Wolf Lodge
I was not compensated for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Molly blogs technology, parenting and geekery at Digital Mom Blog.
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